Digger's salute

Place Europe: United Kingdom, England, Greater London, London
Accession Number ART40954
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 15.2 x 13.1 x 9.3cm
Object type Sculpture
Physical description paper, watercolour, pen and ink, cotton wool
Maker Blaiberg, Gladys
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c. 1917-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Unlicensed copyright


The artist captures the Australian soldier's characteristic irreverance for rank and authority in this paper statue of an Australian soldier and a British officer. Despite passing the officer, the soldier's hands remain firmly in his pockets. This, the artist suggests, is the "digger's salute" - laconic disdain for rank and authority. Gladys Blaiberg didn't work at the Australian Forces canteen until 1917. While it's likely she still encountered Australian servicemen before that time, it is likely she didn't start to produce caricatures of them until being amongst them more regularaly. In 1917 the Adelphi Theatre in London was taken over by the Australian High Commission. Whilst working there Blaiberg made the small scale sculptures of the Australian soldiers during the First World War.